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Bank holiday bin collections

All bin collections following a bank holiday will take place 1 day late from 27 May to 1 June. See our Bank holiday bin collection page for further details.

Food waste

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5. Food waste Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why can I use ‘any bag’ to line my caddy? Shouldn’t I be using ‘compostable’ bags?

All bags – including compostable bags – will be removed at the food waste processing plant before the food is sorted and taken to an energy from waste plant to be converted into electricity.

Compostable bags are also very stretchy and are more difficult to remove by machinery than other bags, meaning the removal process uses significantly more energy.

For this reason, the anaerobic digestion plant would prefer that you do not use compostable bags.

You can reuse any bag to line your kitchen caddy. This includes salad bags, bread bags, frozen goods bags and shopping bags.

Reusing old bags extends the usable life of the bags and reduces the energy consumption associated with making brand new compostable bags.

It will also save you money!


Q. Why can’t I put compostable packaging in with my food waste?

Compostable packaging – including bags – will not break down with the food waste.

This is because our food waste is treated by anaerobic digestion rather than by composting.

The advantage of anaerobic digestion over composting is that it enables the production of electricity and biogas in addition to an agricultural soil improver.


Q. Will my food waste smell?

No. The caddies are designed to prevent odours.

In fact, there is less chance of your kitchen caddy smelling than if you were to put your food waste into your normal kitchen bin.

Keep the lid closed. You can lock the lid by pushing the handle forward, over the front of the lid. This will keep out flies and pests.


Q: How is my food waste recycled?

We send it to an anaerobic digestion plant in Devon, where it is processed to create an agricultural soil improver and to generate electricity and biogas.

Anaerobic means ‘without oxygen’. Therefore anaerobic digestion is not the same as composting and will not break down so-called compostable plastics.

The advantage of anaerobic digestion over composting is that it produces energy – in the form of electricity and biogas – in addition to fertiliser.


Q. Where can I find out more information about what happens to my food waste?

To see what happens to food waste in Devon, and to learn more about the anaerobic digestion process, please visit the Food Waste zone on the Recycle Devon website.


Q. When will food waste collections be rolled out to other areas of the city?

We are committed to introducing food waste collections across Exeter and this will be done in a phased manner.

Other areas of the city will be added as we roll the service out further, but we are unable at present to confirm a timetable for these areas.

It will depend on the availability of vehicles, drivers and caddies – challenges being faced across the country at the moment.

Please do not contact our small team by phone or by email with enquiries about when to expect food waste collections from your street. It is important that our staff can continue providing support to other residents in a timely manner.
However, if you have received a caddy or notification that your food waste collections are due to commence and need to contact us with a question or issue, please email

We appreciate your patience as we work hard to introduce food waste collections to more of the city.